Just a few additional points (or questions) I would like to bring up regarding the reporting of “dates”.
I feel that the authors should have done a better job in comparing and presenting their new Mladeč dates with those obtained from other early (so-called transitional) sites. I am specifically concerned about the lack of clear identification of calibrated vs. uncalibrated dates (as per the following quote:
(France)12 and La Rochette (France)13 to the Gravettian period. The only directly dated European modern human fossils of Aurignacian age are the Pestera cu Oase (Romania) mandible and cranium at ≈35,000 14Cyears before present (that is, ≈35 14Ckyr BP), the Kent’s Cavern (UK) maxilla at ≈31 14Ckyr BP, the Pestera Muierii (Romania) remains at ≈30 14Ckyr BP, and the Pestera Cioclovina (Romania) cranium at ,29 14Ckyr BP, none of which has a secure and diagnostic archaeological association. Moreover, at least the Oase fossils overlap in time with late Neanderthals from for example, Vindija (Croatia), which is at present dated to ≈29 14Ckyr BP and Arcy-sur-Cure (France) at ≈34 14Ckyr BP [p.332]
The only date that is clearly presented (in the text) as calibrated is the one from Pestera cu Oase (≈35 14Ckyr BP). In other words, anyone who happens to be curious about what is being compared has to go into a research mode that, at the very best, can be rather frustrating.
For example, what about the Kent’s Cavern date on a maxillary that may or may not be representative of an early modern dispersal across Europe, and that is reported as being ≈31 14Ckyr? When checking the various 14C dabases that are now available (.e.g. HERE
), one finds out that the bone in question is, when calibrated, 34923 years old. Given the relatively high levels of uncertainty associated with dates in this time range and obtained from bones with a rather lengthy and, at times, obscure curatorial history, I don’t think it would be too unparsimonious to suggest that the dates in question are essentially the same, i.e., about 35000. And this only if we do not take into consideration the recent cryptic report regarding the substantial “aging” of the Kent’s Cavern specimen that was brought up earlier (HERE
As I have said before, “all dates are not born equal” and should be played with accordingly, i.e., with great caution and with an eye on what’s around the corner.